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Vitamin C And Your Skin - Wonderful Or Wicked?

Vitamin C: essential for the body, and essential for your skin! And does Vitamin C even help acne…?


Vitamin C has come to the forefront of skincare. Did you know that Vitamin C was the most googled skincare ingredient of 2017? Social media platform Pinterest reported that “Vitamin C” pinned posts were up by 3379% that year!

Woah. So, there’s no doubt that Vitamin C is popular. But what about it is driving the skincare industry wild?

What is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is an essential anti-oxidative vitamin that the body can’t make or store. This means we have to manually make sure that our body is receiving it every day by consuming our recommended daily allowance: 75mg for adult females (85-125mg if pregnant) and 90mg for adult males, according to The Institute of Medicine, via Healthline.

Why does our skin need Vitamin C?

Vitamin C helps protect against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals.

What’s oxidative stress? Oxidative stress is when an oxygen molecule splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons. These are called free radicals.

Electrons like to be in pairs, so free radicals (solo electron atoms) rampage through the body to seek out other electrons to pair up with. Lone electrons are not known to look for another electron to pair with respectfully; they cause damage to cells, proteins, and DNA whilst on their hunt.

Vitamin C reduces this oxidative stress occurring. Read more on what free radicals are and why they’re bad for skin here.

In addition, your body needs Vitamin C to create collagen — a protein that plays an important part in your skin’s appearance.

Collagen is the protein fibres that make skin plump and prevent sagging. As well as your skin, it also improves your hair growth and quality and all connective tissue (muscles). Read more on how Vitamin C can vamp up your hair here.

Vitamin C also notoriously slows down the ageing process! What a dream ingredient.

How does Vitamin C work on the skin?

Vitamin C is acidic, so when it’s applied topically in a cream, lotion, or serum it rids the skin’s surface of dead skin cells making it brighter and smoother.

Because of its acidic levels, the skin is also triggered to begin ‘healing’ itself, so it accelerates the production of collagen and elastin which are essential for the skin’s healthy appearance. Elastin are similar protein fibres to collagen that help the skin bounce back!

Vitamin C can also reduce the appearance of scars, hyperpigmentation, and marks. It’s a notorious brightener so can fade dark marks without altering the skin's natural pigment.

Does Vitamin C help acne?

Acne is an inflammatory skin condition, typically caused by dead skin cell build-up and oil blocking the pores, exasperated by imbalanced hormones.

Given that Vitamin C is a natural anti-inflammatory, when applied topically it has been touted in helping reduce the swelling and redness associated with acne, and thus lessen the appearance of spots.

When it comes to acne scarring, because of its ability to accelerate collagen production (the protein that repairs and rebuilds skin), Vitamin C is also thought to promote the healing of acne marks and scars!

Does consuming Vitamin C work for the skin?

We all need to be getting our recommended daily dose of Vitamin C as it helps boost the immune system.

Of course, consuming Vitamin C assists in bolstering collagen and elastin production. But it’s not a priority for the body to use its Vitamin C reserves on your skin so if you want the best skin results, topical application is recommended.

I want to try Vitamin C for my skin!

Great. Here are some hints and tricks on how to capitalise on your new topical Vitamin C skincare serum, lotion, or cream!

  • Want the best results? Use your Vitamin C product in the morning, before you apply your SPF moisturiser. Let it soak in for at least a minute before moving forward through your skincare routine.
  • Due to its acidity, it’s best to let your skin get used to it by not applying it every day at first. Every other day for the first few weeks is a good introduction, and then if you like it, think about working it into your daily routine.
  • Your Vitamin C product should be a light colour, almost yellowish. Over time, it might become darker as it becomes exposed to oxygen. If it goes fully brown, this is not a good sign so stop using the product immediately if this happens.
  • When purchasing a Vitamin C product, make sure the concentration is listed as between 10 to 20 percent on the label. If it isn’t between 10 and 20, it can mean the concentrate isn’t very stable so the second it’s exposed to light, it could render it useless.

Final thoughts on Vitamin C For Your Skin

Like with any new product, it takes time and consistency to see results so be patient. You should always trial a routine for hair or skin for 4-6 weeks minimum to really know if a product is working or not.



Sarah Milton


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